Restaurant Goes Cashless

Restaurant Goes Cashless

Food & Drink

Restaurant Goes Cashless


By Cari Martens

Commerce, a restaurant in New York’s Greenwich Village, has decided your money’s no good there. Your cash money, that is.

The upscale establishment may be the first restaurant in America to go cashless. You can still leave your tip in cash, if you prefer, but the tab must be paid by credit card or debit card. According to Commerce co-owner Tony Zazula, 90 percent of the eatery’s customers had been using plastic to pay for their meals before the new policy went into effect.

Quoted in a Wall Street Journal story by Ashby Jones, Zazula said, ‘If you don’t have a credit card, you can use a debit card. If you don’t have a debit card, you probably don’t have a checking account. And if you don’t have a checking account, you probably shouldn’t be eating at Commerce to begin with.’

Bad deal for mobsters and drug dealers?

Zazula’s idea was subjected to some criticism early on. New York magazine made fun of the policy, saying it should rename the restaurant ‘e-Commerce.’ Another blogger noted that it was ‘bad news for mobsters, drug dealers, and The Real Housewives of New Jersey.’

On the pro side of the ledger, the restaurant no longer need worry about being robbed, either by outside criminals or pilfering employees.

Customer reaction has been mixed but mostly positive. Many customers like to pay with plastic because of the card rewards they receive. ‘I love the idea,’ said one. ‘It makes perfect sense.” But another customer asked, ‘Shouldn’t they be catering to the customer? Why not let the customers choose how they want to pay?’

It will be interesting to see if the move toward a cashless society makes further inroads into the restaurant business. We’ll keep an eye on this one.

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